Evolving Job Landscape in 2024: Generative AI Skills & Imperative for Global Governance
| Onkareshwar Pandey - Editor in Chief - CEO, IOP - 22 Jan 2024
  • Generative AI and ChatGPT: Enhancing Job Roles Rather Than Diminishing Them
  • Addressing the Urgent Imperative for Global Governance in Tackling AI Challenges
  • World Leaders Emphasize Prudent Policy Formulation to Counteract Misinformation

Most jobs and industries are only partly exposed to automation and are more likely to be complemented rather than substituted by the latest wave of Generative AI, such as chatGPT in this year 2024 and beyond. World leaders emphasized the need for global governance to address the challenges posed by artificial intelligence and cautioned against formulating policies based on falsehoods. 

By Onkareshwar Pandey

NEW DELHI/GENEVA: Most jobs and industries are only partly exposed to automation and are more likely to be complemented rather than substituted by the latest wave of Generative AI, such as ChatGPT. The ILO report assesses the impact of generative artificial intelligence on job quantity and quality.

In the rapidly advancing landscape of artificial intelligence, recent studies suggest that most jobs and industries are poised for augmentation rather than displacement with the advent of Generative AI, exemplified by innovations like ChatGPT.

Swiss President Viola Amherd has also emphasized the need for global governance to address the challenges posed by artificial intelligence and cautioned against formulating policies based on falsehoods.

Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) is more likely to augment than destroy jobs by automating some tasks rather than taking over a role entirely. With the right conditions in place, a new wave of technology could fuel growth opportunities, an in-depth study from the International Labour Organization (ILO) has found.

Earlier this month, researchers for the International Monetary Fund found that AI may affect the work of four in 10 employees worldwide. That number jumps to six in 10 in advanced economies, in industries as diverse as telemarketing and law. Additionally, a just-released report by the World Economic Forum showed half of the economists surveyed believed AI would become "commercially disruptive" in 2024 – up from 42% in 2023.

Business leaders at 2024's World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos are also prioritizing conversations about artificial intelligence. Particularly, they're focused on how to regulate AI tech to make sure it's a force for good in both business and the world at large.

The International Monetary Fund, in a recent report titled ‘Gen-AI: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work,’ says, “If productivity gains are sufficiently large, income levels could surge for most workers.”

“Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to reshape the global economy, especially in the realm of labor markets. Advanced economies will experience the benefits and pitfalls of AI sooner than emerging market and developing economies, largely due to their employment structure focused on cognitive-intensive roles. There are some consistent patterns concerning AI exposure, with women and college-educated individuals more exposed but also better poised to reap AI benefits, and older workers potentially less able to adapt to the new technology. Labor income inequality may increase if the complementarity between AI and high-income workers is strong, while capital returns will increase wealth inequality. However, if productivity gains are sufficiently large, income levels could surge for most workers. In this evolving landscape, advanced economies and more developed emerging markets need to focus on upgrading regulatory frameworks and supporting labor reallocation, while safeguarding those adversely affected. Emerging market and developing economies should prioritize developing digital infrastructure and digital skills,” the IMF report published in January 2024 says in its summary.

Artificial intelligence was once again the biggest topic at the 54th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, but this year's conversation was much more focused on tangible action. Globally, Boards are pressing their CEOs to have a strategy for incorporating AI throughout the business even as many executives are still grappling with where to start.

Expressing concerns about the escalating threat of disinformation fueled by rapid advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) while addressing at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2024 in Davos, the Swiss President acknowledged that digitization holds the potential for greater transparency and knowledge-sharing.

The Swiss President Viola Amherd highlighted the flip side during WEF Davos 2024, where artificial intelligence can make disinformation appear more credible. Amherd stressed the importance of rebuilding trust and underscored the significance of policies grounded in verified facts and scientific findings.

In the past year, AI conversations at Davos evolved from "check out the speech I wrote with ChatGPT" to far more nuanced discussions around how generative AI could increase productivity and allow businesses to expand into new areas. "The future is AI," Tata Consultancy Services reminded passersby, while Builder.ai promised "software at the speed of thought," in the Davos World Economic Forum.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) in its report titled, "Generative AI and Jobs: A Global Analysis of Potential Effects on Job Quantity and Quality," has shed light on the transformative potential of this technology.

Generative AI, represented by models like ChatGPT, is anticipated to be a force for job augmentation, automating specific tasks while leaving room for human involvement in a complementary role. The ILO report underscores that, with the right conditions, this new wave of technology could create growth opportunities rather than lead to widespread job loss.

The study highlights the significant impact of ChatGPT, which has not only brought AI tools into the public domain but has also narrowed the gap between AI and end-users. This newfound accessibility has facilitated the development of custom-made applications and innovations, sparking concerns about potential job losses. However, the report emphasizes that, under favorable conditions, this technology can drive growth opportunities.

According to the ILO study, clerical work emerges as the category most exposed to technological changes, with a quarter of tasks highly exposed and over half with medium-level exposure. In contrast, other occupational groups, such as managers, professionals, and technicians, show lower exposure levels. The report also explores global variations, noting that high-income countries face a 5.5% potential employment exposure to automation, while the risk is only 0.4% in low-income countries.

Significantly, the report addresses the gender dimension, revealing that more than twice the share of female employment is potentially affected by automation. This discrepancy is attributed to the overrepresentation of women in clerical work, particularly in high and middle-income countries, potentially altering the job landscape for women in developing economies.

The study advocates for thoughtful management of the diffusion of Generative AI, emphasizing the need for policies that support an orderly, fair, and consultative transition. It underscores the importance of worker representation, skills training, and social protection to navigate the evolving job landscape. The report warns of a potential digital divide, with high-income countries and privileged groups reaping the most benefits if proper policies are not implemented.

Furthermore, the report draws parallels with past technological advancements in developing countries, such as the M-Pesa money service in Kenya and the positive impact of increased mobile internet coverage in Rwanda. It suggests that middle-income countries, like India and the Philippines, may leverage their digital infrastructure and skilled workforce to foster the growth of complementary industries.

However, the report acknowledges the risk of an increased productivity gap between high and low-income countries, with the latter potentially falling behind due to inadequate infrastructure. Access to reliable internet and electricity is highlighted as a critical factor, with up to 13% of employment in low-income countries falling into the potential augmentation category.

In conclusion, the ILO report urges policymakers to proactively address the impending technological changes. It serves as a call to action, emphasizing the need for well-crafted policies to ensure that the benefits of the transition are distributed equitably and that the costs to affected workers are minimized. As the study notes, the outcomes of this technological transition are not predetermined; it is human decisions that will shape the impact of Generative AI on the global workforce.

In the past, technological advancements have spurred new and successful industries in many developing countries. One such example is the M-Pesa money service, which relied on the diffusion of mobile telephones in Kenya. The service, in turn, increased financial inclusion thus helping to propel the growth of SMEs and led to the creation of a network of 110,000 agents, 40 times the number of bank ATMs in Kenya (Buku and Meredith 2012; de Soyres et al. 2018).

Similarly, a study of the diffusion of 3G coverage in Rwanda between 2002 and 2019 found that increased mobile internet coverage was positively associated with employment growth, increasing both skilled and unskilled occupations (Caldarola et al. 2022). Hjort and Poulsen (2019) also find positive employment effects, from the arrival of the internet in 12 African countries, albeit with a slight bias towards skilled occupations. These gains are attributed to increases in productivity and the growth of markets that followed increased connectivity.

Among developing countries, further distinction needs to be made. While middle-income countries are more exposed to the automating effects of GPT technologies, their digital infrastructure and skilled workforce can also be an asset for spawning the growth of complementary industries. Although India and the Philippines are at risk of losing some call center work, their dominance in business process outsourcing may provide the needed foundation for the development of new industries.

The landscape of the US labor market is undergoing rapid transformation, shaped by both pre-existing trends and the unforeseen impact of the global pandemic. Following the release of a report by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) on the future of work in America, the world grappled with the challenges posed by the pandemic. Despite a sudden downturn, the US job market has rebounded vigorously, witnessing significant shifts in the way people work and the nature of their occupations.

The post-pandemic era has seen a notable evolution in work patterns, with a substantial number of workers opting for remote or hybrid models. Concurrently, employers have hastened the adoption of automation technologies, and the recent surge in the development of generative AI, equipped with advanced natural language capabilities, has expanded the scope of automation across various occupations.

In the midst of this upheaval, workers have displayed remarkable agility, changing jobs at an accelerated pace. A staggering 8.6 million occupational shifts occurred between 2019 and 2022, reflecting a dynamic labor market. Anticipating further changes, the MGI expects an additional 12 million occupational shifts by 2030. This projection signifies a 25 percent increase compared to estimates made just over two years ago.

The McKinsey report underscores the profound impact of generative AI on the future of work in America. As automation technologies and advanced AI capabilities continue to redefine job roles, the workforce is poised for further transformations, necessitating adaptability and agility in navigating the evolving employment landscape.

“As generative AI becomes more prevalent across industries, there is an increasing demand for professionals with expertise in this field. The job market is evolving rapidly, and business students who possess AI skills will have a greater chance of securing rewarding careers. Employers are actively seeking individuals who can develop, implement, and manage generative AI systems to drive innovation and stay ahead in the competitive landscape. By acquiring these skills, business students can position themselves for lucrative job opportunities in various sectors, ranging from finance and marketing to healthcare and manufacturing,” writes Marc-André Léger, Professor of Cybersecurity and Business Technology Management at Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in a

Marc-André Léger, a Doctor in Sciences and Information Technology, stands at the forefront of cybersecurity research and education.

“Automation of repetitive tasks is one of the key ways in which generative AI is transforming the future of work and creating new job opportunities for business students. With the advancements in AI technology, mundane and repetitive tasks that were once performed by humans can now be automated, allowing employees to focus on more complex and strategic activities,” Marc-André wrote.

“There’s significant concern about jobs disappearing due to Generative AI’s ability to automate tasks, but that’s not the complete picture. First, tasks aren’t jobs. Second, we need to look at skills to understand how jobs will be redefined given the adoption of Generative AI,” according to a report titled ‘Generative AI and the Future of Work’ published by Deloitte AI Institute.

“A potentially more significant consequence of a wider adoption of generative AI products could be an increased divergence in productivity between high- and low-income countries. Larger shares of jobs falling into the augmentation category suggest that, at least in the near future, generative AI systems similar to GPT are more likely to become productivity tools, supporting and speeding up the execution of some tasks within certain occupations,” says the ILO Report.

“The digital divide will influence how the benefits of such productivity tools are distributed among societies and countries, with high-income countries and privileged groups likely to reap the biggest rewards. Low-income countries, in particular, are at risk of falling behind. While up to 13 per cent of employment in these countries is found in the potential augmentation category, in practice potential benefits of GPT technologies are likely to be limited, as the lack of reliable infrastructure will constrain its application. To begin with, such technology is dependent on access and cost of broadband connectivity, as well as electricity, ILO Report says.

In 2022, one-third of the global population, corresponding to some 2.7 billion people, still did not have access to the internet (Figure 11). Among the two-thirds that do have access, many would not be able to use GPT technologies due to the limitations in the quality of their connection or the cost of the service.

Even more fundamental than the internet, reliable electricity provision is often a challenge. According to the World Bank Enterprise Survey, 49 percent of registered firms in developing countries experienced electrical outages, averaging 4.5 days per month and lasting 4 hours on average.

Without proper policies in place, there is a risk that only some of the well-positioned countries and market participants will be able to harness the benefits of the transition, while the costs to affected workers could be brutal. Therefore, for policymakers, our study should not read as a calming voice but rather as a call for harnessing policy to address the technological changes that are upon us, the

Image Courtesy - WEF website, Google and Getty Image through WEF website

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(Onkareshwar Pandey is Founder, Editor in Chief & CEO, Indian Observer Post and former Senior Group Editor- Rashtriya Sahara (Hindi & Urdu) and also former Editor, (News), ANI. http://bit.ly/2mh7hih Email - SMS- 9910150119)


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